Seb Morris suffered a weekend to forget during Rounds Six and Seven at the Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship at Thruxton, the Fortec Motorsport driver losing his championship lead after a tenth place finish and a retirement.
The 16 year old headed to the high-speed Hampshire circuit hoping to continue his outstanding start to the 2012 campaign, however he was instantly on the back foot after an engine problem in qualifying left him almost 1.5 seconds off the pace, putting him sixteenth on the grid for both races.
With all the track action taking place on one day, Fortec faced a monumental challenge to install a new engine into his car in time for the first race; however the mechanics managed to do it against all odds to get the Ginetta Ambassador on track with seconds to spare.
Heading into the race aiming for damage limitation, Morris overcame set-up issues to climb through the order well to finish eighth on the road, however a post-race ten second penalty for an 'out of position start' put him back to tenth.
With a proper set-up on the car for race two, Morris was determined to mount a top six push at the very least and by the end of the first lap he was on the cusp of the top ten. It all changed when he got caught-up in the middle of a multi-car accident at Allard on lap two, instantly ending his race.
Morris, who drops to third in the championship standings, said: “It's been a very tough weekend and it all started with the engine problems in qualifying, it all went downhill from there really. Qualifying was badly compromised and although we scored some points in race one, the car wasn't how we wanted it. The team did an amazing job to get me out there at all though, all credit to Fortec – the guys made a fantastic effort.
“Race two was a big disappointment. We had everything sorted with the car, it felt really good and we had so much pace. I made up a lot of places on the first lap and then I was right behind three or four cars battling over eighth through the first corner on lap two. They tangled, so I went wide to avoid it, but then I got hit by one of them and that was it – race over.
“We'll come back stronger at Croft. Everything that went wrong this weekend was out of our control, nothing we could do at all.”